PlanetPhillip was a website focused on chronicling, uploading, and reviewing custom maps and mods for both the Half-Life series, and the Portal series. Founded on the 23rd of September 2003 (coincidentally, the day of the infamous Half-Life 2 delay), it was far more than just a simple map database. It had many different features, spin-off projects and websites, as well as a number of competitions for writing and level design. It had its own active mini-community, and for many of us, it might have been the first Half-Life site we ever visited.
But after almost a decade of perseverence, service and activity, PlanetPhillip has unexpectedly closed its doors. The site has been completely closed down, and all the content has been removed.
The closure comes in the midst of several important side-projects, such as The Replay Experience Experiment (which was to take us on a ride down nostalgia avenue, for a full playthrough of the entire Half-Life franchise), and the 6×10 Mapping Competition (which encompassed 6 level design mini-competitions for HL2: Episode Two, each lasting 10 days and all leading up to a grand prize).
Phillip says the site might just re-open in October, but he says that at this point, he doubts it. Here is his full statement:
I have run the site for over 8 years and invested over 10,000 hours into it. Others have helped me, but it’s mostly my work.
Recently, I have become tired. Tired of how every weekend is consumed with the list of tasks related to the site.
Tired of dealing with content thieves, idiots and the general hassle that goes with such a comprehensive site.
No doubt some will call the closure “melodramtic” but they have no idea of what’s involved.
I may reopen in October and having the summer off may recharge my batteries. At this point I doubt it.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has helped me and to all my dedicated readers.
Pleae do not email me as I will only be checking my email once a month and will NOT be replying to ANY website or gaming related messgaes.
The people who are currently involved with me on projects will recieve an email.
There was no prior warning, and there currently is no content archive of any sort. Apart from that, that really is all we know and have directly concerning the closure, for the time being.
Let me say that PlanetPhillip was an incredibly important part of the Half-Life community. It hosted countless maps and mods (and so many of them extremely well-done), numerous insightful interviews and editorials, and generally, a whole lot of really great content and media.
And let’s not forget that Phillip helped us get off the ground, during the infancy of LambdaGen exactly two years ago. Without his support, what’s to say we’d all still be here?
For many of us, it might have been a constant in the turbulent chaos of a fragmented and troubled community. And seeing it close down represents a huge loss for the entire Valve community. There’s no denying that the Half-Life fanbase is currently passing through some very tough times, and this year seems to have brought the worst of it all (and I sincerely hope Valve understands this). Between this, and the closure of Steamcast two months ago, the community has taken some hard losses as of late.
But all is not lost. Things always change in a community as large as this one. And sometimes, change can be extremely abrupt. As they say, everything is in flux. We might be seeing a time of transformation for the entire fanbase at large. PlanetPhillip was not the first to go down, nor will it be the last. But that doesn’t lessen the far-reaching impact of its closure – not by one iota.
Still, whatever happens, I personally believe that the community will remain as creative, as passionate, and as active as it’s ever been. So, in the words of Cave Johnson: “Let’s all stay positive, and do some science.”